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APVMA impounds quantity of plant growth hormone

Officers of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) yesterday impounded a quantity of a suspected unregistered chemical product, gibberellic acid, used as a growth regulator in the table grape industry. This follows investigations undertaken by the APVMA into the use of unregistered chemicals in the Mildura, Euston and Robinvale areas of Victoria.

Mr Stephen McDonald, APVMA Compliance Manager, said that there were a number of APVMA registered products containing gibberellic acid widely available and he urged table grape growers to make sure that they used these.

'These investigations arose as result of several complaints the APVMA received over the last three growing seasons about the supply of unregistered products containing forchlorfenuron and more recently complaints about unregistered products containing gibberellic acid,' Mr McDonald said.

'APVMA Compliance staff have visited the area on two previous occasions and on one occasion seized and subsequently destroyed a quantity of unregistered forchlorfenuron product. Despite this action unregistered products are obviously available again this season,' he said.

Mr McDonald said that there are no products containing forchlorfenuron registered for use in Australia and the current investigations have not uncovered any products containing this chemical.

'Compliance staff will continue to make unannounced visits to premises suspected of supplying the unregistered products and taking action to prevent further supply. It is an offence in Australia to supply an unregistered agricultural chemical product and the offence carries a penalty of $165,000 for a corporation and $33,000 for an individual,' he said.

Mr McDonald issued the reminder that the APVMA is offering growers and distributors the opportunity to hand in or return any unregistered growth promotant products in their possession. This will allow people involved in the table grape industry to ensure all products applied to crops meet the requirements of the law. Further details may be obtained by contacting the APVMA on 02 6272 3418 or DPI on 03 5430 4416.

The APVMA is the Commonwealth government statutory authority with the legislative responsibility for regulating the importation, manufacture, supply and promotion of agricultural and veterinary chemical products within Australia.